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Lenten Devotional 2021: Day 12

Sunday, February 28 – Written by Rev. Maya Landell

Chapter 28  A New Path to Aliveness Matthew 5:17-48

Photo credit: Mary Beth Wallace

“There are three ways to ultimate success. The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.”Fred Rogers.

“There’s an alternative. There’s always a third way, and it’s not a combination of the other two ways. It’s a different way.”
– David Carradine (stolen from Jesus)

As we walk the journey of Lent, I have images of Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken,” flashing through my mind and my prayers. Each week we engage with teachings of Jesus that lead us to reflect on the choices we have made, and the choices that lay before us. Life in the pandemic has involved listening for daily updates, rule changes, regulations, suggestions and recommendations. It has also meant developing new habits of discerning what path to take. I must literally decide on which path I take to get from my car to my condo; do I take the stairs, ride the elevator alone, or with one other person? What about getting to work? Do I take the path that allows me to enjoy some socially distanced unmasked outdoor time? Less literally, what road are we taking as a community? How do we find a new way when we grieve the old way? How do we find a third way of being the church?

“If tradition could be compared to a road that began in the distant past and continues to the present, Jesus dares to propose that the road isn’t finished yet. To extend the road of tradition into the future – to fulfill its potential – we must first look back to discern its general direction. Then informed by the past, we must look forward and dare to step beyond where the road currently ends, venturing off the map, so to speak, into new territory. To stop where the road of tradition currently ends, Jesus realizes would actually end the adventure and bring the tradition to a standstill. So faithfulness doesn’t simply allow us to extend the tradition and seek to fulfill its unexplored potential; it requires us to do so.” (p. 132, We Make the Road by Walking).

Jesus never said it would be easy, but he did say it would be a new path to aliveness. I want that more than anything for each of us, for our community, for our neighbourhood and beyond. May it be so.

Jesus the Christ
You called your disciples to go
On the way to the cross.

Since you first walked that road
Countless millions have followed you.

In all that we do as your disciples,
Save us from false familiarity with your journey.
May we never presume to step into your shoes,
But make us enough to fit our own,
So we may walk in love and wonder behind you.

– from Eggs & Ashes